After having seen Federico Leon de la Vega’s presentation at TEDX Talks in September and after having seen some of the work in progress over the past couple of years, it was a treat last week to be in his studio to see the collection exhibited up close and in person!
Presented on fabulously enormous canvases and a few smaller studies, these bold graphic statements compile a contemporary collection that is quite astounding. The premise is quite provocative.
The idea that handwriting is a basic human means of communication having evolved into the very personal flowing script of cursive that each individual can call their own – in their own style – it’s almost as personal as a fingerprint. It is an extraordinary human function that should be protected, revered and certainly not lost to the fast-paced technology of the digital age!
Making one’s mark on a surface…a piece of paper…to convey a thought, idea, instruction, story, a doodle on a paper towel – a love letter.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, it brings to mind the idea of love letters. We read them throughout literature and listen to them in songs. We hear of them being saved over time by recipients in treasured boxes tied with ribbon to be read over and over or merely saved for others to find long after…
These magnificent oil paintings convey the art of handwriting. They celebrate the simplest marks of hand to canvas with brush and paint looping in circles and jutting in spikes – the primary strokes of handwriting. These primary strokes are the foundation of mastering the control needed to make the continuous flow of letters that become each person’s personal interpretation of the alphabet in cursive style and an exclusive means of communication.
Style – handwriting conveys personal style. Look at yours. Is it always the same or do you mix it up? Do you stay consistent or do you express different styles of your own handwriting for different purposes? Look at your friend’s handwriting – would you recognize it anywhere?
It is thrilling to walk among these great canvases with their color and bold strokes. It is arresting to realize that they are so simple yet so complex in what they are saying. We must recognize the value of handwriting. We must not let it be dropped from our schools’ curriculum. We must continue to see the importance of the pure, mind to hand, raw emotion.
Powerful spikes require starting and stopping – control.
Loose loops also require control to maintain uniformity.
After control is learned, expression can take over resulting in that personal style that becomes each individual’s identifying handwriting.
Federico reminds us in his talk, about how we might have attempted to write a love letter for the first time and how many times it was crumpled because it wasn’t quite right. The failed attempts of recording our feelings as we strive to say the right thing, to express our deepest emotions. Yet once accomplished, those words hand-written mean so much more than the same words conveyed by type or digital communications.
“From my heart to my mind, from my mind to my hand, from my hand to the paper I place in your hand, so you may fold it and keep it near to your heart. No delete!”
The digital world is all around us. We cannot escape it, nor should we. However, the human evolution and the brain’s development that mastered the art of handwriting is a place that could be diminished and lost if we do not continue the art and practice of personal expression through this extraordinary medium.
All we need is love – sent via a personalized handwritten letter from the heart. Here’s to a Happy Valentine’s Day !!!